Volume 47, No. 1

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Migration routes and stopover areas of Leach's Storm Petrels Oceanodroma leucorhoa


1Department of Biology, Acadia University, Wolfville, NS B4P 2R6, Canada *(
2Department of Biology, Dalhousie University, Halifax, NS B3H 4R2, Canada
3Environment Canada, Canadian Wildlife Service, 45 Alderney Dr., Dartmouth, NS B2Y 2N6, Canada


POLLET, I.L., RONCONI, R.A., LEONARD, M.L. & SHUTLER, D. 2019. Migration routes and stopover areas of Leach's Storm Petrels Oceanodroma leucorhoa. Marine Ornithology 47: 55 - 65

Received 23 April 2018, accepted 27 November 2018

Date Published: 2019/04/15
Date Online: 2019/02/16
Key words: geolocator, Leach's Storm Petrel, migration, Oceanodroma leucorhoa, seabird tracking, species distribution modelling, stable- isotope analysis


Little is known about the movements of small seabirds during migration, but such information is important for their conservation. Leach's Storm Petrel Oceanodroma leucorhoa is the most abundant seabird in Atlantic Canada, but its population has declined in recent years. Here, we describe trans-equatorial and trans-Atlantic migration movements of 13 Leach's Storm Petrels, which were tracked with geolocators from two breeding colonies in Nova Scotia, Canada: Bon Portage Island and Country Island. Our results indicate that Leach's Storm Petrels have low migratory connectivity and that they use multiple stopover areas and overwintering destinations. Birds with stopover areas at higher latitudes overwintered in the North Atlantic Ocean, either in areas associated with the North Equatorial Current or in waters off Newfoundland and Labrador. Birds with lower-latitude stopover areas overwintered in the South Atlantic Ocean, in areas associated with the Benguela Current off southwestern Africa. We observed greater δ15N values (indicating higher trophic level) in feathers from birds that migrated south compared to birds that stayed in the Northern Hemisphere, but we observed no difference in δ13C (which may be interpreted in multiple ways). Species distribution modelling using remotely sensed oceanographic data indicated that high sea surface temperatures and high chlorophyll a concentrations were important predictors of habitat use in winter.


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